The Sealegs 7.1 Sport RIB is a truly unique multi-purpose watercraft, with three fold-down wheels and an auxiliary 22-hp air-cooled internal engine that makes it capable of launching and retrieving itself on nearly any beach. With the wheels up, it performs like a conventional RIB -- powered by a 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC, it ran 44.2 mph in our tests. The heavy gauge aluminum hull is made to rest on the sand, allowing the boat to be kept at ready for a quick launch through surf as a rescue vessel -- or simply to act as a go-anywhere tender for a large yacht. It is ideal for people who own waterfront homes.
- Evinrude 150HP E-TEC outboard
- Fusion marine stereo
- Simrad Go7 GPS chartplotter/fishfinder
- Simrad VHF radio
- Boarding ladder
- Dual floodlights
- Helm backrest
|Length Overall||23' 5'' / 7.13 m|
2.40 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||4.0 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.8 sec.|
|Props||Viper 14 3/4 x 17" ss 3-blade|
|Load||2 person, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||75 deg., 65 humid.; wind: 5-10 mph; seas: 1-2|
1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC
1 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboard
1 x 22-hp Honda engine
Sealegs Recreational designed the 7.1m Sport RIB to be a true amphibious multi-purpose craft. On the water, she’s a 23’3” (7.13 m) rigid hull inflatable powered by an Evinrude E-TEC 150-hp outboard. When the time comes to hit the beach or pull up onto a sandbar, she has an air-cooled 24-hp motor that powers a hydraulic transmission that drives two rear wheels and a single bow wheel with all-terrain tires. She was designed specifically for people with beachfront houses who want to drive their boat directly into the water whenever the spirit moves them. When the day’s boating is done, the wheels hydraulically lower and the boat drives out of the water onto the owner’s property. This eliminates the need for a marina slip and the time wasted getting there.
Amphibious Enablement System (AES).
The turnkey amphibious package includes all-wheel drive with a hydraulic transmission powered by a 24-hp Honda air-cooled engine. It has an automatic braking system and power steering for land and water. The legs for the wheels are heat-treated cast alloy for marine use and the heavy-duty lift system is made in-house for long life.
A one-piece alloy hull guarantees durability on rocky shore landings.
- Fusion marine stereo
- VHF radio
- Custom stainless-steel boarding ladder
- Dual floodlights recessed into the bow
The 7.1m Sport RIB’s beam includes the inflatable 21” diameter Hypalon tubes on each side, but the boat’s interior still has a deceptive amount of seating. Aft, there’s a small cushion on top of the splash well with a stainless steel grabrail forward. Just ahead of this seat is another two-person bench atop a molded aluminum base. It has a roll-style backrest. Forward of this seat, the Honda engine is housed in a ventilated console beneath the helm seat, which has a clever aft-facing bar that can act as a restraint for small kids. There are grab handles on the tubes outboard on each side.
The 7.1m Sport RIB’s helm has the Evinrude I-Command multi-function gauge and the controls for the outboard and for the AES in a well-organized aluminum console. The builder has thoughtfully placed the steering wheel and engine controls to starboard because it leaves space for a companion at the compact helm. The Lowrance MDS7 chartplotter is to port ahead of the accessory switches and the VHF radio is just below. A windshield keeps the spray and wind off the driver and a companion. Down low, all of the boat’s circuit breakers and battery switches are housed in a compartment in the base of the helm. To keep both batteries topped off, the charging system switches between them automatically.
On the front side of the console, we found a one-person bench. There’s another aft-facing seat in the bow, where the tubes create a natural wraparound backrest and there are two sets of grab handles in reach from the console bench and bow seat.
Access and Storage.
A hatch in the 7.1m Sport RIB’s sole just ahead of the outboard provides access to mechanical equipment. There’s another hatch abaft the helm seat in the sole that accesses dry storage and one in the bow that serves the same purpose.
To ensure that the 7.1m Sport RIB will survive frequent beachings and landings, the hull is stamped from a single sheet of marine-grade aluminum. It’s supported by stringers and bulkheads placed every 18” and welded in place. They form an internal structure strong enough to give the boat a 1,543-lb. (700-kg) capacity. The legs for the rear and bow wheels looked like they are designed for the long haul with heavy-duty aluminum castings and stainless steel fittings for the hydraulic lines. The 9-gallon (34-L) hydraulic reservoir is beneath a removable panel in the cockpit decking. The tubes are Hypalon and they glue to the hull.
Power and Performance
The 7.1m Sport RIB we tested was powered by a 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboard turning a 14 ¾” x 17” three-blade stainless steel propeller through a 1.85:1 reduction. With two people, about a half-tank of fuel, and test equipment, our boat weighed 4,044 lbs. (1,834 kg). We recorded a top speed of 44.2 mph at 5500 rpm.
Best cruise came at 3500 rpm where we ran 25 mph and burned 5.95 gph, resulting in a range of 177 statute miles with 10% of the boat’s 47-gallon (178 L) fuel capacity in reserve.
In acceleration tests, we planed in 4.0 seconds and ran to 20 mph in 5.6 seconds and to 30 mph in 7.8 seconds.
Handling and Ride.
We tested the 7.1m Sport RIB in 2’ to 4’ (.61 m to 1.22 m) seas and in 10 to 15-mph winds that were challenging for boats 10’ (3.05 m) longer. We were impressed by the boat’s ride. The tubes dampened the ride in the waves and the wheels had no effect on turning. We cranked hard turns in each direction and the boat felt smooth and stable.
How it Operates
When it was time to take the 7.1m Sport RIB on the beach, we start the air-cooled Honda engine and lowered the bow wheel. Owners approaching a strange beach can use the bow wheel to find any unseen obstructions. Once the bow wheel touched bottom, we lowered the rear wheels and engaged the all-wheel drive. Then we turned off the outboard and raised it. A Morse control lever on the left side of the console engages the all-wheel drive and the speed is controlled with a lever on the starboard side. The steering wheel controls the outboard and the bow wheel. The vehicle can climb a 30% grade. Once on the beach, owners can lower the aluminum hull right onto the ground to make it easy to step off. For easy cleanups, lower the bow wheel to pick up the nose and hose out the cockpit. All of the water will wash to the stern.
$129,000 with a single Evinrude E-TEC 150 2-stroke outboard.
Available Options and Price
- Galvanized anchor with chain and 50m of nylon rope ($190)
- Boarding ladder ($990)
- Saltwater washdown ($990)
- Stainless-steel Bimini ($1,740)
- 12V Automatic inflation pump ($240)
Most of the Sealegs 7.1m Sport RIBs that have been sold have gone to waterfront homeowners who like to drive them right up onto their property. This could be especially advantageous to those who live in an area with extreme tides. It could also be good for people who like to explore sandbars and go clamming or crabbing. Sealegs also has a commercial division and all of the boats are built to the same specifications whether they’re going to a commercial or recreational customer so longevity and re-sale shouldn’t be an issue. The Sealegs 7.1m is built in New Zealand where rigged surf and challenging coastal waters is an everyday occurrence. The boats are sold world-wide.